EU Car Sales Fell for 10th Straight Month in May

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EU Car Sales Fell for 10th Straight Month in May
Credit: © Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith -- The misery of Europe's car industry continued in May, as new registrations across the EU fell in annual terms for the 10th month in a row. 

New car registrations fell 11.2% from a year earlier, with declines of over 10% in all of the bloc's four biggest markets, with U.K. registrations falling by an even steeper 20.6%, Brussels-based lobby group ACEA said in a statement.

Over the first five months of the year, registrations are now down 13.7%, a reflection of a sequence of crises that have hit the industry since the pandemic erupted at the start of 2020.

The malaise in the auto industry is one reason for the sharp slowdown in the Eurozone's economy in recent months. The sector accounts for over 8% of EU GDP and 11.5% of the region's manufacturing jobs, according to ACEA.

Of the major automotive groups, only Hyundai (KS: 005380 ) and Toyota (TYO: 7203 ) escaped the downward trend. Volkswagen (ETR: VOWG_p ) group sales were down 21%, while group sales at Stellantis (BIT: STLA ), which includes the Peugeot, Fiat , and Opel brands, were down 14.6%. Mercedes Benz (ETR: MBGn ) and Ford (NYSE: F ) escaped with declines of less than 10%.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) does not report its sales to ACEA. Anecdotal reports however suggest a sharp drop in sales in May due to problems shipping from its Shanghai plant, which was hit by two months of COVID-19-related restrictions. The newly-opened plant in Berlin is currently producing fewer than 1,000 cars a week. Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees that he expects a "very tough quarter" in the three months through June due to "supply chain and production challenges in China."

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